Faith-healing couple plead guilty to denying medical treatment for 13-year-old son

They are the sixth couple from the Followers of Christ Church to be prosecuted since 2008.

KOIN CBS News 6, Oregon/August 8, 2023

By Dan Tilkin

Portland, Oregon — Two members of a faith healing church in Oregon City pleaded guilty to denying their son medical care on Tuesday.

Brittney and Jake Heimbigner, members of the Followers of Christ Church, admitted they didn’t get their 13-year-old son dialysis treatment in a case stemming from September of 2021.

In the plea bargain, the prosecutor is recommending 15 days in jail and three years’ probation.

“Our office makes this offer having considered the significant harm that (their son) suffered, the awareness of the risk to him that both defendants demonstrated in their statements to police, and their disregard of that risk by failing to seek medical care until confronted by law enforcement,” wrote Deputy District Attorney Bryan Censoni in court documents.

Sentencing will be scheduled for sometime after the first week of September.

Since 2008, the Heimbigners are the sixth couple to be prosecuted as members of the church, accused of not getting their children medical care.

In court Tuesday, it was noted the couple will be able to try to convince the judge they should not get any jail time at sentencing. Jake’s lawyer told KOIN 6 News the couple may not have realized their son’s condition was urgent.

“It’s a question of what did they know and when did they know it,” said attorney Wayne Mackeson.

In prior Followers of Christ criminal cases, defense attorneys argued the parents didn’t know how bad off their child was until it was too late.

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